Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in visit the Far East Street exhibition at Russky Island in Vladivostok. Photo: Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev

Korea JoongAng Daily raised eyebrows on Friday with a story that South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration is reviewing a plan to build an industrial complex at the Russia-North Korea border.

Multiple government sources reportedly told the Seoul-based newspaper that the deal is part of a trilateral economic cooperation project involving the three nations.

If true, the plan would be in clear defiance of the international community’s efforts to toughen economic sanctions against Pyongyang to pressure it to end its nuclear and missile programs. It may also reflect Moon’s desire to make independent moves to defuse tensions with North Korea and an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to upstage the US in the crisis.

Moon attended the Eastern Economic Forum, hosted earlier this week by Russia in Vladivostok, where he met with Putin. He reportedly discussed his plans for trilateral economic projects among the two Koreas and Russia at this time.

“The key of the plan is building an industrial complex at the Rajin-Khasan region at the North-Russia border,” a Seoul official told the JoongAng, on the condition of anonymity. “Before President Moon’s visit to Russia, Blue House aides and experts gathered and had a serious discussion on the plan.”

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